What Happened: Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has said he will not renew the mandate of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (known by its Spanish acronym as CICIG) before it expires in September 2019, Prensa Libre reported Aug. 31.
Why It Matters: Since it was established in 2006, the CICIG — an independent body that investigates corruption cases and refers them to Guatemalan authorities for prosecution — has become a key part of U.S. anti-corruption policies in Latin America. The commission is the most entrenched and successful anti-corruption institution in Latin America created with U.S. assistance and has ensnared several political and economic elites in the last several years. The U.S. government may respond punitively with sanctions, travel bans or asset freezes targeting Guatemalan officials. These measures could disrupt business continuity in Guatemala.
Background: The CICIG's role in corruption investigations has angered many of Guatemala's political elites. Guatemalan prosecutors have publicly accused Morales of illicit campaign financing practices. Morales himself is currently under investigation by judicial authorities and has publicly criticized the CICIG's role in politics since his election in 2015.
- In a Time of Anti-Corruption Campaigns, Context Matters (March 8, 2018)
- Guatemala: Head of Anti-Corruption Body Gets to Stay, For Now (Aug. 30, 2017)
- Guatemala: President Attacks the Anti-Corruption Body Before It Attacks Him (Aug. 28, 2017)